Recently in communication Category
- --If you are interested in participating on or leading a committee, please let the current committee chair know.
- --If you are interested in a role on the board of directors, including social media, newsletter, and other communications activities, please let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- News on the U portal has moved forward since the helpful Communicators Forum program in October, a rough draft is available and accepting feedback in December.
- Web header and footer: University Relations is providing an opportunity for input on changes that will need to be made to the U header and footer required on all University of Minnesota websites; share your input on this short survey by Dec. 9.
- Thanks to November's program, more communicators are ready for an emergency. Maybe you missed the program, but you didn't miss out! Find the handout and recording from the most recent program emergency preparedness.
- Monthly Mixer at the Campus Club is this Thursday, Dec. 5, 3:30-5:30 p.m., RSVP here. Save the date for the next one: Jan. 2. The nachos will be waiting!
- Work with or interested in events planning? The Events Circle officially kicks off this month with a Dec. 9 program on working with University Dining Services. (And events planners know the value of an RSVP -- food will be served, space limited.)
- Awards alert: Look for Maroon and Gold Awards information to be announced early in 2014, including a new "innovator" category; submission process will be in March.
- Our email list transitioned to a Google Group; email the member community at FORUM-C@umn.edu
- We'll be doing a member drive in January and February to share the benefits of joining; a presence at new employee orientation continues throughout the year.
- In the works: We've connected with communicators at Crookston, Duluth, Morris, and Rochester campuses to explore opportunities beyond the Twin Cities and better serve their needs, and have started plans to revise the Communicators Forum website--stay tuned!
- Planning has picked up for the May 28 member appreciation event (Weisman) and June 19 annual conference (Carlson).
--The technology committee has updated the FORUM-C listserv to a Google Group, so you can control your own settings and reference past posts.
--The marketing and promotions committee has been representing the Communicators Forum at the U's new employee orientation, and has started planning for the member appreciation event and awards celebration this spring.
--The conference committee had their first meeting to plan this year's conference: Craft the future, June 19, 2014.
--The awards committee is looking at revising categories this year to better align with the type of work communicators are doing these days.
--And more: Member profiles on the blog every month, special brownbag Oct. 24 on the U's new "portal," reaching out to system campus communicators to better engage, exploring an upgrade of the Communicators Forum website, design concept for the Craft the future theme, and of course updates on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and the blog.
I recently read this article, "Why You Should Write Daily" by Leo Babuta, which outlines the importance of setting aside writing time, and also gives tips on how to do it. His top five tips?
1.) Commit to writing daily.
2.) Set aside the time.
3.) Start small.
5.) Shut down distractions.
Read the full article here, and happy writing!
You already know the advantages of attending the Year of the Communicator conference on June 25, 2013, but you may need some help convincing your supervisor.
Here are some tangible benefits of attending this year's UMCF conference:
1. It is affordable!
With airfare consistently on the rise, attending the conference means you won't only save on airfare, but hotel and food costs as well. Plus if you register before May 30, you receive the early bird discount.
2. Expand your professional network.
Because the conference is for communicators at the University, you expand your professional network across campuses. We rarely get a break to talk with our fellow colleagues and this is an excellent opportunity.
3. Keep up with the trends in the communications field and be
inspired by inspiring people.
This year's conference has two keynote speakers that are industry leaders. Krista Neher is an expert on social media and will be addressing how higher education institutions can make social media work for us. Debra Frasier, author and illustrator, will help guide you on your path of creativity, something every communicator needs.
4. Attend together as a teambuilding activity.
Attending the conference as a team means you can talk about which sessions will provide you with the most skills and choose your tracks together. Creating a report for your supervisor about the sessions you attend also helps outline what you learned. Then you can discuss your day at the reception, surrounded by inspiring art at the Katherine E. Nash Gallery.
5. Gain topic-specific experience.
The strategies, tools, and skills that you learn can be taken back to your department and applied immediately. The conference offers you two keynote speakers and three breakout sessions geared to give you the tools that you need to be the best at what you do.
This looks interesting. Thanks Google.
By now, you may have heard rumblings about the "Internet of Things" and depending on the context, it can be defined in many different ways. Everyone, however, agrees that the emerging "Internet of Things" (IoT) will link everyday physical products to each other via the web. This will be (and currently) is done by embedding technology in an object in order for it to communicate with other connected devices. This will essentially create a giant digital information system. The experts at Harbor Research suggest that the Internet of Things will have a bigger impact on our daily lives than either the internet or social media combined, radically shifting the way that we think, act, and connect with each other.
"We are creating a connected world with entirely different touch points," said Glen Allmendinger, president of technology and business development consulting firm Harbor Research. "In the past, a company would sell a product, and it would disappear into a black hole. There was no way to know what anyone did with it or what other marketing opportunities existed. Today, it's possible to see how a customer uses a device and discover all sorts of opportunities."
Recent articles point to the IoT as the interaction and exchange of data between machines and objects, and now there are product definitions reflecting the same concept. Nike has been utilizing this technology for a few years now, with their Nike Fuel band that tracks and monitors your fitness levels, suggests ways to conserve energy, and connects you with a community of Fuel Band users.
There is almost no limit to the possibilities that the IoT will bring and it's no secret that marketing will be at the center of that universe. The Blake Project's Derrick Daye believes that the IoT will change branding in a monumental way. "It can deliver the brand promise at every point of customer contact and deliver a more meaningful relationship. It can help a company create a greater brand alignment across devices, screens and experiences."
Needless to say, the Internet of Things is here to stay. I'm anxious to see how the University of Minnesota will start integrating this technology into the different experiences that they offer. What will this mean in terms of recruitment, retention or giving? Marketing and branding? Only time will tell.
His animations and static graphics bring information to life. This graphic on Olympic long jumpers uses everyday comparisons that most of us can relate to, such as the length of the free-throw line on a basketball court.
At a glance, we can see how people spend their time--and click on 18 different variations of the data.
And this is cool: Who goes to State Dinners, from what industries, and how many times?
One thing you don't see here? Lengthy copy with various font sizes, masquerading as "infographic." (Google "view our infographic" for more like these.)
How do you share information without text?
Just start writing. You could just get out what you want to say and agree to come back later and fix it or you could just start with a stream of consciousness.
Earlier this week, a few fellow marketing department coworkers and I took the StrengthsFinder test and went to a Human Resources workshop designed to help us understand our results. I tend to reflect a lot about my relationships, whether it be with coworkers, superiors, community members, patrons, or my personal relationships. I found StrengthsFinder to be a good exercise in reflection. None of my top 5 themes surprised me, but I found some of the suggested action items on how to incorporate my strengths into the workplace helpful, although some of them felt a little too much like a zodiac for my comfort, such as "Find someone with strong Command or Activist strengths to pair with." However, what I found to be even more helpful was hearing my coworkers' results, and how they interpreted or explained them. This allowed me insight into our work relationships, and understanding why certain protocols, processes, or environment details are important to different people.
Do you think personality tests such as this are useful in the work place? If you've taken StrengthsFinder specifically, what did you discover with your results? Have you shared them with your coworkers/superiors? If so, has that affected the way you work together?
Today I went to the UMCF program, Beginner's Circle: Working with University Relations, and discovered a pocket of resources for us as communicators. I am fairly new (one and half years at the U) and have had veterans tell me that you are not a real U employee until you have been here for ten. It was nice to hear that for some people that were closer to the ten-year mark, this was good information all around. So, whether you are new to the University or have been here for years, there was a little something for everyone.
The panelists were: Ann Aronson, responsible for marketing and branding; Laura Johnson, responsible for creative services; Chuck Tombarge, responsible for the news service; and Jay Weiner, the presidents speechwriter.
Here are some of the resources they provide:
New Service: (www.umn.edu/urelate/public-relations.html) Will work with you on a press release or connecting you to local reporters. Provide media training for faculty and staff. Provide council on social media strategy. Write a column from the president in your department/units newsletter.
There are four staff members, broken into beats that they cover:
- Julie Christensen covers public affairs, access, engagement, philanthropy and diversity.
- Steve Henneberry covers liberal arts, humanities, and video.
- Matt Hodson covers STEM, research, science to industry, business, and agriculture.
- Patty Mattern covers administration, athletics, crisis, and efficiency.
Creative Services and Marketing Communications: (www.umn.edu/urelate/marketing.html) Provides consulting in collaboration with marketing and branding for marketing strategies, electronic communications, shared media, design, writing, editing, multimedia, and photography. The U Story on the homepage is also handled through creative services and ideas can be submitted to email@example.com.
The overall focus for University Relations this year is President Kaler's priorities that can be found here: www.umn.edu/president/initiatives-priorities/index.html.
Do you have other resources that would be helpful for navigating communications at the U?
I am also looking forward to the next program, Expert Insights: Dave Pyle, Former bureau chief of the MN/WI Associated Press on December 5.
Is it people?
Is it faculty and staff?
It's a throwdown: People vs. Faculty and staff. Which side are you on and why?
Here are five steps to maximize your membership.
STEP 1: Complete this brief member survey by Friday, November 16.
STEP 2: Save the date for these signature events:
- Member Appreciation Event - May 29, 2013, 4:30-6:30 p.m., Weisman Art Museum, Minneapolis
- Annual Conference - June 25, 2013, all day, Carlson School of Management, Minneapolis
STEP 4: Attend a program. The next two are:
- November 15, 12-1:30 p.m., 100 Murphy Hall - Beginner's Circle: Working with University Relations (panel discussion)
- December 5, 12-1:30 p.m., 2-233 Carlson School of Management - Expert Insights with Dave Pyle, former bureau chief of the Minnesota/Wisconsin Associated Press
1.) What is your job title and department here at the U? How long have you worked there?
2.) Favorite part of your workday?
3.) Why are you part of the Forum?
4.) Where do you find creative inspiration?
Here's what they had to say:
Erin Kober, Marketing & Promotions Committee Co-Chair
1.) Marketing Manager at Student Unions & Activities. I have worked at Student Unions & Activities for just over a year.
2.) Brainstorming! I love finding new and creative ways to get our message to students.
3.) To network across the University and get new ideas from people across all University departments.
4.) A variety of blogs, and of course, Pinterest!
Katie Covey, Marketing & Promotions Committee Co-Chair
1.) Program and Project Specialist at the Weisman Art Museum. I started working at WAM as a sophomore in college but have been a full time staff member for two years.
2.) Planning programming with our student group, WAM Collective. They keep me connected to student life!
3.) To make connections and learn from my colleagues across campus.
4.) The Weisman's galleries, tumblr, nature, and everyone's guilty pleasure - Pinterest!
Amanda Aranowski, Marketing & Promotions Committee Member
1.) Communications Coordinator at the Institute for Mathematics and its Applications. I began working at the U a little over a year ago.
2.) Editing! I am a total nerd, and when I get to sit with my stack and a red pen, well, nothing makes me happier.
3.) To learn about the best and greatest in communications and to get to know other fabulous communicators on campus.
4.) Other campaigns, advertising, blogs, and, of course, from all of YOU.
Monique Dubos, Marketing & Promotions Committee Member
1.) Business Operations Supervisor, Housing & Residential Life for 7 years
2.) Favorite part of my workday is working on projects for committees such as this one. One of the committees I serve on is our HRL sustainability committee. Last year I developed, edited and contributed to a newsletter highlighting our accomplishments from the year.
3.) I'm part of the forum because, through this and other committees, I've discovered a knack for project leadership and development that allows me to use my writing, editing, photography, and social media skills. I joined UMCF to meet communications professionals on campus, learn from them, and add to my experience that will hopefully lead to a communications job one day (soon, I hope!).
4.) I find inspiration in the people I work with - at work and on outside projects. I'm also inspired by the beauty of everyday life - I'm rarely without my camera!
Katie Evans, Marketing & Promotions Committee Member
1.) Lead Events Coordinator, Institute for Global Studies. I have been in my current position for six months. Prior to that, I worked for two and a half years as Program Specialist at the Center for German & European Studies.
2.) Attending the events that I have been preparing for and making sure everything is running smoothly.
3.) I hope the forum will help me become more aware of university wide resources that are available as well as connect to other motivated and talented people in communication positions. Also, my position involves a fair amount of communication and marketing and I hope to be inspired by the forum.
4.) I love collaborating and communicating with my colleagues. People have such diverse experiences and I find that by talking with them, I often get new and fresh ideas through conversation. Also, working so often with events, I find that attending them and seeing different styles also stimulates new ideas that I can apply to my current position.
Kristin Trautman, Marketing & Promotions Committee Member
1.) Events and Communications Coordinator at the Technological Leadership Institute in the College of Science and Engineering. I began working at the University a little over a year ago.
2.) Designing something! Whether it's marketing materials, a website or a PowerPoint presentation I enjoy coming up with an interesting way to layout and display information.
3.) To take in (and hopefully add to!) the best of the communications community here on campus. I joined the forum earlier this year and have already been inspired and learned a great deal.
4.) I am constantly perusing marketing and technology websites and blogs for ideas. I also like to attend events here on campus and around town.
Editor's Note: How would YOU answer these questions? Where do you find inspiration? What prompted you to join the Forum?
When: November 15, Noon-1:30 p.m.
Where: Murphy Hall Room 100
To Register: UMCF Members can go here and register with your x500
What: Have a story you'd like featured on the U of M's homepage? Need to get a press release out to media but don't know who to contact? Want to get your faculty in the media? At this Beginner's Circle event, learn more about the role of University Relations in internal and external University communications. A panel of University Relations employees will be on-hand to explain their role in getting U news out to the public and will be available for questions from you! Find out how to get your department on the University's radar and the tools available to help share your department's story with the Twin Cities media. Please sign up and fill out the participant survey.
UMCF: What is your job title and department here at the U? How long have you worked there?
Jen Peters: Graphic designer at the University Libraries since September 2008 (4 years, 1 month).
UMCF: What's an average workday like?
JP: The majority of my day is spent in my office designing. I generally have at least five projects going at once, and produce them from concept to completion. I often start a project with a few quick sketches and typeface explorations before moving into InDesign. I often sort through images from the Libraries' archives and special collections and collaborate with our exhibits designer, Darren Terpstra. I work closely with the Communications Director finalizing text edits and creating and sending HTML emails.
UMCF: Favorite part of your workday?
JP: I love starting a new project, particularly brainstorming visual concepts and searching for the perfect typeface! I am fortunate to work with so much incredible art here at the Libraries such as these lovely seed catalogs.
UMCF: How does what you do support the mission of the University?
JP: We work to promote our vast resources which ultimately help expand the reach of research: our expert librarians, the millions of volumes held in our collections, tools to enhance productivity, and programs and services.
UMCF: Why did you join the Forum? What role does the Forum plan in your everyday work life?
JP: It was a big transition coming from an agency setting into my current position, working with only two other people. I joined to network and gain a better understanding of the communications work happening at the University.
I have learned so much by volunteering on the conference committee. I have been asked to help plan events at the Libraries as a result. Plus, it gave me a good excuse to approach potential speakers - designers and artists I admire.
UMCF: Where do you find creative inspiration?
JP: Design and photography blogs, any type of magazine, Pinterest, plus the incredible local art and design culture here in the Twin Cities.
UMCF: What are your hobbies outside of work?
JP: Riding bike, gardening, photography, skiing - anything outdoors!
UMCF: Tell us a fun fact about yourself.
JP: We (my husband and I) have a 15 year old music loving cat. When my husband plays guitar, she demands to be in the same room, sitting by his feet.
University communicators are there to help you. Get these communication experts involved as soon as you suspect your research may draw media attention. These people not only are trained journalists, but also work with scientists all the time. They understand how hard it can be to translate years of complicated research into a few sound bites or sentences. They truly want to help you tell your story in the most interesting, accessible and accurate way possible. They also serve as a point of contact and filter to the outside media world. Let them do their job and help you through this process.
The Poynter Institute has just released this report showing the highest click-through days/times for Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr. Peak time for Facebook and Twitter are right now: 2:30 p.m. on a Wednesday.
This will change how we schedule our postings. Have you seen anything different in your campaigns? Click through for neato graphs.
That's why it's important to put aside some time during your week to exercise your creative muscles.... starting with this: 29 ways to stay creative (http://vimeo.com/24302498).
Also, don't forget the UMCF annual conference is coming up July 26! And, we're pleased to announce that Beth Perro-Jarvis and Mary Van Note, Partners of Ginger Consulting, will be leading a session on creativity.
P.S. Check out this cool story about Ginger Consulting on Star Tribune (http://www.startribune.com/lifestyle/148329235.html).
A great example is Twin Cities illustrator and print maker Adam Turman who tells the story of biking in the Twin Cities through his collection of cycling prints.
Check out how to create the final product in this screen printing tutorial written by Turman.
And, plan to attend Turman's UMCF conference session "Let's Print" where he'll talk about the process of screen printing, but more importantly, he'll be teaching how to pull some actual prints that attendees can take with home.
Register by April 23 for the discounted rate.
What's your take on these new platforms? Do you see an opportunity to use them in your workplace?
Check out ten best practices for email marketing. And, plan to attend the UMCF conference session on email marketing, "Having a Blast: Making Mass Email Work for You," with U of M University Relations' electronic communications specialist Pete Wiringa.
Learn about the conference agenda and session topics. Register by April 23 for the discounted rate.
Learn how to build a social media strategy in three steps and plan to attend the UMCF conference session on developing social media strategy. Rita Greenberg, interactive media specialist at Gillette Children's Specialty Healthcare, will present.
To register for the conference, click here. If you register by April 23, you'll pay the discounted rate of $120. Go for the Maroon and Gold!
I'll admit right now that I'm a Copyblogger junkie. Writers, if you don't follow this uber helpful copywriting blog, DO IT NOW. Seriously. Someday, after you've been twirling in your swivel chair for 30 minutes singing "la-la-la-la-la" after hitting writer's block, you'll thank me. Whether it's a headline that isn't packing a punch, an uncooperative blog post, or simply a complete lack of focus due to the unseasonably warm March weather, Copyblogger will pop up in your inbox with an incredibly insightful, clear, and concise article to pull you out of your rut. Here are a few recent articles that I've found incredibly valuable:
The 10-Minute Technique to Becoming a More Productive Writer On the importance of having a personal long-term writing vision in order to help you become more efficient with your daily writing tasks.
3 Simple Storytelling Methods That Can Do Your Selling For You On the power of storytelling in sales copy, broken down into the personal story, the historical story, and the "meet the guru" story.
8 Quick Tips for Writing Bullet Points People Actually Want to Read On the importance of effective, readable bullet points in a digital, "Twitterized" world.
Millennials, the generation of young Americans born after 1982, may not be the caring, socially conscious environmentalists some have portrayed them to be, according to a study described in the new issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.
The study, which compares the traits of young people in high school and entering college today with those of baby boomers and Gen X'ers at the same age from 1966 to 2009, shows an increasing trend of valuing money, image, and fame more than inherent principles like self-acceptance, affiliation, and community. "The results generally support the 'Generation Me' view of generational differences rather than the 'Generation We,'" the study's authors write in a report published today, "Generational Differences in Young Adults' Life Goals, Concern for Others, and Civic Orientation."
I've learned mostly by trial and error, and by watching and learning from expert tweeps as they grow with their following and gain momentum for their business or organization. But perhaps the most helpful for me are simple guidelines from other users that pop up in blog posts, articles, and more all over the internet, such as this one, which I stumbled upon last week, and passed on through the UMCF Twitter channel. And, as a bonus, here's a quick look at some things I've learned over the last year or so in my own guide: A Beginner's Twitter Guide to Domination in Five Steps. (Brace yourselves for the power of this knowledge.)
A Beginner's Twitter Guide to Domination in Five Steps:
1.) Follow like-minded people. This is the number one step to exponentially increase your number of followers. Search hashtags and topics to see who is talking about them, and follow them. Or, even better yet, find another organization similar in cause to you, and start following who they follow. Not everyone will follow you back, but the surprising majority do. (This means your description and recent tweets better be stellar, so these people are intrigued at first glance.)
2.) Curate lists. This has been the most helpful for me to not only more easily find quality content, but also for organizing my approach and to make sure that I'm diversifying my tweets. If you're unfamiliar with lists, what this means is that you create segmented categories of Twitter accounts that you follow, based on their content and/or area of interest. For example, I have a list for the Communicators Forum called "University Departments." Another could be called "Communications Publications." That way, you can just view the feed from that list's sources specifically, to narrow down and focus the constant stream of information coming in. You can make these lists public or private, and can call them whatever makes the most sense to you. These take time to curate, but are so worth it.
3.) Be smart with your retweets. Don't get overly click-happy with that retweet button. Yes, it's just so easy, but doing that too often can make it seem like you don't have any original content or thought, or, that you're just plain lazy. If you're going to retweet something, switch it up more often than not. Copy and paste the tweet into your own post, tag the owner with RT, and preface it with some your own commentary. This could be something as simple as "Especially agree with rule #3 RT @umcf: The Official Rules of Twitter Domination http://LINK_HERE". You can also start over completely with your own original tweet, and just tag whoever originally posted the link by ending your post with: "(via @umcf)." Just remember: your followers want to know what YOU (whether you are an individual, or the voice of an organization) think, not how many posts you can retweet in a minute.
4.) Use short links for original content. Here at the University, we have a fantastic link shortener, z.umn.edu. Why use short links for original content (i.e. your organization's blog posts, events, etc) specifically? Stats, my friends, stats. Through z.umn.edu short links (and others) you can then track who is clicking that specific link, and where those paths to your original content are starting from (Twitter, Facebook, emails, etc). This can be incredibly helpful when figuring out where your audience is getting their information. There are other link shortening services outside of the University, but many of them you have to pay for, especially if you want to customize your short links.
5.) Tweet at least 3-5 times a day. From what I've heard, tweeting about five times a day (and not all at once) yields the most effective results. At that rate, you're not pushing people off the edge with endless tweets about your oh-so-amazing breakfast sandwich, and you're also making following you worthwhile with daily updates and insights. For some organizations, it can be tough to get up to five tweets per day, but just work in that direction. This doesn't have to be (and shouldn't be) solely original content. The main purpose of Twitter is to embrace and engage with your community, whatever it is. Retweet insightful posts from fellow professionals, engage with your followers by asking questions and starting conversations, seek out articles and sources related to your field or area of interest, and share it all with your community.
That's all for now, folks. Happy tweeting, and may the force be with you.
The brand of your business is just a word until people come along and give it meaning.
Real brand love, like in life, is reserved for a special level of brand engagement and emotional impact.
Creating an emotional appeal with storytelling makes messages stronger.
Happy Valentine's Day!
Jennings says to find out if you have a story, ask, "Why does this matter?" and "Will people care?" Then, find out the players and how to tell it. Think about visuals or artwork from the beginning, he says--about how to tell the total story. And when it comes to characters, he says, "Don't tell the story of the army. Tell the story of the soldier." Tell the story from a unique perspective and show the audience things they would not see otherwise. A recent story on Northrop Auditorium's renovation is a pretty good example here, as the photographer and I were lucky enough to get access to the interior during demolition. Do all that, and one gets the idea that in the end, you'll be telling the story of the army more effectively simply by telling the story of the soldier.
Get a sneak peek at some of the Superbowl ads by going to the following link:
Happy Superbowl Weekend Forum Members!
I love doing media training with faculty. I always learn a lot about a new topic. But about half the professors I talk to don't know how to describe their work in terms that the general public typically understands. So I have a practice that I call "Jargon Translator." As they talk about their work I jot down their $5 words, and then together we translate them to something a little more common. At the end of our training I give them a list of "forbidden words."
We all use jargon. (high-res, vector, phoner, embargo, CSS, EPS, etc.) We just have to pay attention to how our audiences are hearing what we're saying.
What are your favorite academic "forbidden words"? Please share in the comments. I'll list a few of mine to get us started:
Let's assume for a second that when, for example, I write a story, it's not about me getting any sort of personal feedback--that it's about who or what I'm writing about. Now get rid of that notion. It is about me, dammit. How long would any of us keep doing something without once-in-awhile hearing an "attaboy?" Say what you will about writers having low self-esteem (it's true), but sometimes you gotta hear "good job" to believe it.
I asked a friend in a similar field about this, and, like me, he wasn't afraid to admit his deepest insecurity about self/work-efficacy. He said, "Sure, you're promoting events people might attend, making someone aware of research. They might or might not take action. But that's just too far removed...too hypothetical." His despair is my aggravation. And so, as in every situation, I first ask myself, "who can I blame?"
First, I blame inadequate metrics. Metrics for online media simply aren't yet where they need to be unless you're selling something (and someone is buying). If your video of an intoxicated squirrel gets 7 million views, what does it really mean (other than being absolutely friggin' hilarious)? Who does it touch? What difference did it make in a life?
For this conversation, I reference a fantastic article on ClickZ about measuring marketing success (related), which says all I might hope to say. Suffice to say, metrics are and will continue to evolve until one day we all have high self-esteem.
Second, I blame you. And I blame me. Because it's not enough anymore to drop your work into the series of tubes (minute 2:12) that make up the internet, hearing only a "whoosh" and then...nothing...into the ether.
Solution: "Good job!"
When is the last time any of us read something wonderful and sent a note to the writer, or photographer? Why doesn't this happen? If someone sat down and told you a story in person, or showed you a slideshow, and you just sat there and didn't say anything afterwards, it would be...a very weird and awkward silence. Direct feedback can't be beat. Most of us, I'd wager, would trade 1,000 "impressions" for a direct comment any day. So next time you read something you like, send a note to say so*.
So, what are some solutions here, and how are you getting your fix? Do comments on Facebook do it for you (certainly more meaningful than "likes")? Is a retweet enough? Should the author always include a byline with an email address? Let us know in the poll.
*The irony here is that most of the time, if someone takes time to send a comment, it's negative. Nothing motivates quite like displeasure. Let's try to change the tone.
P.S. The Comm Forum does a nice job of filling this void with its yearly conference and Maroon & Gold awards program. And members are known to give the occasional shout out. But no one should need to fill out an application in order to receive positive feedback.
Here's an edition of link roundup on getting good at taking pictures.
-- 14 Ways to Improve Your Photography in a Few Days
-- 90+ Online Photography Tools and Resources
-- How to Stay Up Late and Make an HDR Image
-- How To: Master Smartphone Photography
-- iPhone Photography + Social Networking = Instagram
-- The Washington Post Wants Your Instagram Photos to Illustrate Health of U.S. Economy
The concept, if you're unfamiliar, is to prepare bingo cards with buzzwords and tick them off when they're said during a meeting or speech until you "win-win."
The moral to the game is that the listener feels that the speaker, through the subterfuge of an infinite echoing of trite terminology, is masking a lack of actual knowledge and just spouting off a bunch of buzzwords rather than providing information or ideas of actual value. In other words, our chief was saying, "I actually know what I'm talking about. Feel free to question me on it." Refreshing...because it's actual, mutual communication.
Just look at what one recent winner said about the game:
"Thanks Bingo creator for thinking outside the box and proactively creating this value-added knowledgebase that is a strategic fit with my core competencies and current client focused mindset. I can leverage our existing process and exploit the inherent synergies to expand the knowledgebase to cater to our result driven folks who will work 24/7 to put it on a fast-track. This cascading game-plan is what I call a truly win-win situation."
I'm happy to say that no one "won" the game today.
"If your research is stale, if your classroom is boring, if your community engagement is ineffective, you must reinvent yourself, or, frankly, you must step aside," President Kaler implored faculty in his Sept. 22 inauguration ceremony address. "As you expect me to deliver on my job, I expect you to deliver on yours."
Here at the University News Service, we believe there are few better and simpler ways to highlight the value of faculty research and expertise than through focused and strategic media relations. Here are some suggested talking points to emphasize with faculty when discussing the importance of media relations:
--News stories on University of Minnesota research and expertise are read by state legislators, the governor, and Minnesota's Congressional delegation as well as citizens, donors and, when there is national publicity, people at federal funding agencies.As faculty have been charged to push the envelope, we as communicators need to take advantage of this opportunity and help them understand the value and impact of telling their stories.
--Research results can help inform decisions on important public issues.
--Many grant applications require public outreach and education, and there certainly is a need to improve public appreciation of science and how research benefits society.
--Popular press coverage makes it more likely research will be seen and cited by other scientists
--Announcements about grants, appointments, and awards rarely get more coverage than brief mentions in local newspapers. This is why it is important to focus on publicizing research findings and faculty expertise.
--Finally, popular press coverage of research often results in valuable contacts with potential collaborators. Most national and international publicity about the U comes from coverage of peer-reviewed research findings.
--Jeff Falk ( jfalk at umn.edu )
Although spread far and wide, it's apparent there is a thread running through our group that knits us together. Communicators relish in swapping stories, sharing information, and making connections. And we do just that at the U--especially those who participate in the Communicators Forum.
It's easy to forget that this inherent attribute is a skill that many people do not possess. As connectors, we have access to people that others may not. Using that opportunity to relay important messages is an interesting concept--think of the impact that could be made by stepping outside our traditional roles.
To me, it makes sense that making a difference in my profession and making a difference in the lives of others requires both excellent communications skills and the ability to project my knowledge to others confidently. So, complimenting my people skills with leadership skills seems like a no-brainer.
Here's an edition of link roundup on leadership, career success, verbal communication style, and more.
Sometimes when we think about communications we believe them to be the sole job of professionals with focused job titles like "communications specialist." But communications--helping others understand the value and role of an organization--are most effective and persuasive in numbers.
Anna Kucera, director of marketing and public relations with the Upper Midwest Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, had a clear message for the several dozen attendees at the Oct. 20 UMCF event, "Promoting Strategies on a Budget: Internal PR."
Everyone in your department should be involved in communications, and ultimately, everyone in your organization is anyway, she said. A conversation is happening--online, in coffee shops, and in backyards--people talk about work. Providing the tools to enable employees to lead the conversation, and to advocate on behalf of [the U], is ultimately a communicator's job.
"The people who work for the University need to be able to speak about what they do for the U and why it matters," Kucera said.
At her own organization, Kucera said "A lot of times our employees are the people best connected to the communities we serve. We want to empower them to get the word out about upcoming events, and our agenda."
Her advice was to train everyone, in the key messages (the value) of the University, and in the use of social media (by holding social media brown bags)--an inexpensive way to amplify 20,000 faculty and staff (and 60,000 students) who make up the U.
"Social media policy should be not only a list of what not to do, but "to do's" and "how to's." Facilitate interactions among employees. Empower them to reach out to their own networks in a way that positively represents your organization," she said.
Certainly food for thought as the U approaches another important legislative session, with tens of millions of dollars on the line.
One way to get involved is to join the U's Legislative Network, get informed, and get ready for action at the U's 2012 Legislative Briefing, coming Feb. 1.
Follow the U's new legislative network on its new Facebook page, and continue the conversation online.
In this economy, volunteers are highly desirable; therefore, we need to treat them well. It's taken me time to understand how to effectively communicate and treat volunteers in order to best manage them. Below are some tricks of the trade compiled from both my experiences and from the Donor Relations Guru Blog that I follow.
1. Have realistic expectations of your volunteers. Volunteers are donating their time; therefore, don't overload them with several projects or tasks.
2. Clearly define a volunteer's role. Manage their expectations along with your own. Define what the role's tasks are from the beginning and talk to the volunteer prior to your event to make sure they understand of what's being asked of them.
3. Appreciate your volunteers. I understand - we're all busy, but taking some time to write a personal note of appreciation and thanks to your volunteers goes a long way and helps to develop a relationship. Remember - a happy volunteer = a repeat volunteer.
To learn more volunteer tricks, go to www.donorrelationsguru.com/.
Have any volunteer horror stories or best practices (either your own volunteer experiences or managing volunteers)? If so, let us know.
Hope you all join us at Coffman Union on Thursday, May 12!
- Tweet a lot to accumulate as many followers as possible, but if your goal is to drive more traffic to your site, you should show a little more restraint; accounts that share two or more links an hour show a dramatically lower clickthrough rate than those who share no more than one.
- Reach people when the noise of the crowd has died down. It turns out that time is often the afternoons, when blogs and news sites are slower, and the weekend, when they're all but asleep.
- Retweet activity is highest late in the work day, between 2 and 5 p.m., and the sweet spot (tweet spot?) is 4 p.m. Late in the week is most retweetable, too.
Read the full story at Nieman Journalism Lab.
When developing a website, it's tempting to jump right into the fun design phase. But left in its wake is the neglected content strategy.
A website can look pretty, but if the content stinks or it's tough to find--you've lost your audience. If you are driving people to your website, give people a reason to stay and a clear idea of what you want them to do. Do you want people to give? Say so. Do you want them to attend an event? Make that clear--don't hide the info.
A new book out a few months ago, The Elements of Content Strategy, lays the groundwork if you're still having to make the argument of why content strategy matters. Here is a write up about it: Jason Santa Maria.
I plan to pick up this book. Have any of you read it? I'd love to hear what you think--share in the comments field.